When Lance (Sam Jaeger: Parenthood TV series) and Drew (Neil Grayston: Eureka TV series) realized that they couldn’t make it as serious filmmakers, they decided to go for the next best thing – internet fame. Capitalizing on the recent Hollywood popularity of possession, these two start a webcast called The Cleansing Hour that shows real, live exorcisms. With Drew behind the camera and clerical collar wearing “Father” Lance exercising demons for their ever growing audience, it seems these two innovators have hit a gold mine. Fortunately for them, the exorcisms have been fake… until now.
As P.T. Barnum was fond of saying, the show must go on! Easy for him to say. He was only dealing with renegade elephants and burning circus tents. He never had to contend with evil demons from Hell or dropping website stats. But I digress. As soon as the cameras role and Heather (Heather Morris: Glee TV series) goes from general hair swishing and teeth gnashing to a gravelly voiced demon that can bleed at will, Lance struggles to keep up the façade (with a raggedy old Bible Drew found at a yard sale, natch) while Drew tries to put a stop to the whole thing. But look at those ratings! Also, what’s up with that incredibly skinny sound guy, Braden (Filter guitarist Jonny Radke)? Did he have anything to do with this seemingly out of the blue possession?
Director/editor Damien LeVeck (E! News TV series) wastes no time in this eighteen minute short. Every second is used to build suspense, characterization and plot. Although The Cleansing Hour is only his second time in the director’s chair, LeVeck masterfully combines humor, action, horror and suspense in a way even some veteran directors have yet to learn. His natural talent directing combined with Aaron Horwitz’s (Monster House TV series) script make for a tight, tense and terrifying short. The actors were all perfect. Don’t be surprised to see the names Sam Jaeger, Heather Morris and Neil Grayston much more in the future.
I honestly didn’t see the twist coming, so when it came, it shocked me but pleased me at the same time. I love it when a film can trick me like that. It doesn’t happen much anymore. The Cleansing Hour is currently being screened at Sitges and Napa Valley Film Festival, among others. So if you get a chance to see The Cleansing Hour – take it! It will be the best eighteen minutes you’ve spent in front of a screen in a long time.